… in Rolling Stone. McKibben has written what is, in my opinion, one of the more important and disturbing essays of the last few years. He lays out an unvarnished summary of where we stand with the destabilization of the climate. Where we stand is shameful and frightening: we’re locked in for disastrous changes to the climate and, worse, show every sign of moving full speed toward not only disaster but calamity, a “a planet straight out of science fiction.” McKibben’s unflinching words are, in my limited experience, a pretty fair reflection of what scientists are thinking. The essay is well worth your time.
So how to respond to this sobering reality check? I suspect that this is the question that we’ll be asking a lot in the coming decades. Maybe Jane Goodall’s thoughts are relevant. She has better reason than most to give up on this broken world — the animal species and ecosystems that she deeply loves have been pushed to the edge of annihilation before her eyes. Yet she responds with hope. That hope is easy to dismiss as mere fatuous or fluffy salve, but I think it reflects something deeper. The short time that I’ve spent in McKibben’s company showed me the same: against long odds, hope.